- Ph.D. University of British Columbia, Canada 2009
- B.S. Humboldt State University, California 2005
Gillian Gile is an evolutionary microbiologist who studies symbiosis, defined as a relationship between distinct organisms that is maintained over evolutionary time. Microbial eukaryotes, the single-celled relatives of plants and animals also known as protists, engage in a fascinating array of partnerships with each other, with bacteria, and even with plants and animals.
One such symbiosis is the partnership between termites and the protists that live in their guts and help with wood digestion. Another study system is the far more ancient symbiosis between a protist and a photosynthetic bacterium that ultimately led to the complex cells of modern plants and algae. Professor Gile uses molecular biology, phylogenetics, and comparative genomics techniques to understand how the protists in these symbioses interact and co-evolve with their partners.